120 research outputs found

    How genetic data improve the interpretation of results of faecal glucocorticoid metabolite measurements in a free-living population

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    <div><p>Measurement of glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in faeces has become a widely used and effective tool for evaluating the amount of stress experienced by animals. However, the potential sampling bias resulting from an oversampling of individuals when collecting “anonymous” (unknown sex or individual) faeces has rarely been investigated. We used non-invasive genetic sampling (NIGS) to investigate potential interpretation errors of GCM measurements in a free-living population of mountain hares during the mating and post-reproductive periods. Genetic data improved the interpretation of results of faecal GCM measurements. In general GCM concentrations were influenced by season. However, genetic information revealed that it was sex-dependent. Within the mating period, females had higher GCM levels than males, but individual differences were more expressed in males. In the post-reproductive period, GCM concentrations were neither influenced by sex nor individual. We also identified potential pitfalls in the interpretation of anonymous faecal samples by individual differences in GCM concentrations and resampling rates. Our study showed that sex- and individual-dependent GCM levels led to a misinterpretation of GCM values when collecting “anonymous” faeces. To accurately evaluate the amount of stress experienced by free-living animals using faecal GCM measurements, we recommend documenting individuals and their sex of the sampled population. In stress-sensitive and elusive species, such documentation can be achieved by using NIGS and for diurnal animals with sexual and individual variation in appearance or marked individuals, it can be provided by a detailed field protocol.</p></div

    Origin (based on NIGS) of multiple faecal samples (N = 176) collected in the Swiss National Park during the mating and post-reproductive periods (2014 and 2015).

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    <p>Origin (based on NIGS) of multiple faecal samples (N = 176) collected in the Swiss National Park during the mating and post-reproductive periods (2014 and 2015).</p

    The distribution of mountain hares in Europe [28], and the location of the study area in the Swiss National Park (grey region) in Switzerland.

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    <p>The distribution of mountain hares in Europe [<a href="http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0183718#pone.0183718.ref028" target="_blank">28</a>], and the location of the study area in the Swiss National Park (grey region) in Switzerland.</p

    speciosus_data_ecolapp_dryad

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    Tamias speciosus glucocorticoid data and associated biological and environmental data collected 2013-2015 in Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas

    alpinus_data_ecolapp_dryad

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    Tamias alpinus glucocorticoid data and associated biological and environmental data collected 2013-2015 in Yosemite National Park and surrounding areas

    Over time decay of cortisol metabolites in faecal pellets of koalas in central Queensland

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    Faecal material can be a valuable source of information for a range of animal health aspects and can be used to measure faecal cortisol metabolites (FCMs). FCM values can relate to physiological stress responses. However, freshly defecated pellets are not always available and environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity, might affect faecal pellet consistency and FCM levels. Therefore, the impact of environmental conditions on FCMs needs to be evaluated. We collected 107 samples from two female and two male koalas, exposed them to three types of treatments, and analysed FCMs in these samples with three enzyme immunoassays (EIAs). After analysis, the original FCM values were mathematically corrected for water loss. Results show that the FCMs were more stable when measured using tetrahydrocorticosterone (50c) and 5α-pregnane-3β,11β,21-triol-20-one (37e) EIAs, and were less stable when measured with the cortisol EIA. With 50c, the FCM values did not vary significantly over time either before or after the adjustment with water in the environment treatment group. For samples kept under constant low (25 ◦C) and high (35 ◦C) temperatures, the 50c FCM values did not vary significantly over time, after adjustments were made for water loss. Thus, this study highlights the importance of considering the suitability of faecal field samples for FCM analysis. Because water loss was the main driver of FCM changes, we strongly recommend collecting koala pellets that are freshly defecated, despite the effort and time it might take to collect such pellets

    Supplementary Methods, Tables, and Figures from Ecological specialization, variability in activity patterns and response to environmental change

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    Study site locations and sample sizes, PCA results, and GLMM variables; Graphical representation of extracted locomotion curve features; Boxplots showing glucocorticoids before/after accelerometers; Sum of squared error scree plot for cluster analysis

    Supplementary Methods, Tables, and Figures from Ecological specialization, variability in activity patterns and response to environmental change

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    Study site locations and sample sizes, PCA results, and GLMM variables; Graphical representation of extracted locomotion curve features; Boxplots showing glucocorticoids before/after accelerometers; Sum of squared error scree plot for cluster analysis

    Mean concentrations of fecal corticosterone metabolites (FCM) per mouse and lifetime, pooled for the corresponding seasonal sampling points.

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    <p>Mean concentrations of fecal corticosterone metabolites (FCM) per mouse and lifetime, pooled for the corresponding seasonal sampling points.</p
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